Crooks urged to hand over guns in two-week amnesty
CROOKS are being urged to hand in their guns to police and get help to return to the “straight and narrow”.
A two-week amnesty is being run up and down the country and Coventry Police Station is one of the places where weapons can be handed in anonymously.
As well as urging those who own firearms – no matter what size or how old the weapon is – to hand them over, West Midlands Police are also writing to wives, girlfriends, mothers, siblings and other family members of suspected gun criminals in an effort to encourage them to report those involved in crime and offer support.
The amnesty will run until Sunday, November 26.
Det Insp Rod Rose, from West Midlands Police CID, said: “We’re continuing to urge anyone with information on the whereabouts of firearms to support the surrender.
“Our message to those we know are entrenched in gang culture is clear; hand in your weapons and get help to leave a life of crime.
“We’re also reminding those who have information about people who may be involved in gun crime that the laws on illegal firearms have recently been toughened up and anyone found in possession of a gun can now be jailed for five years.
“Past experience tells us there will be people in the West Midlands who, out of misguided loyalty, are storing guns for partners, relatives or friends.
“They are risking life behind bars, even if they have no intention of using the gun themselves; they need to contact us during the window Our message to those we know are entrenched in gang culture is clear; hand in your weapons and get help to leave a life of crime of this surrender before it’s too late.
“If people feel they are being pressured into storing weapons then we can help them – we can offer support to get away from that situation.”
Postcards are being handed out by officers to those suspected of being involved in gun crime to not only invite them to hand in their weapons, but also get help to leave the life of crime.
The force ran its own firearms surrender at the end of September which saw more than 140 firearms and pieces of ammunition handed in and officers are keen for people who didn’t surrender their weapons then, to do so now.
Det Insp Rose added: “We know that some criminals make definitive choices and actively pursue a life of crime. Others just make bad choices.
“They fall into crime by dropping out of education, mixing with the wrong crowd, becoming addicting to drink or drugs and so on.
“Many of these people don’t actually want to be living in constant fear of being arrested or always looking over their shoulder to see if a rival is seeking retribution.
“Our expert offender managers can put them in touch with drug groups to break their cycle of crime to fund their addiction. They can also signpost them to training providers, call in the support of the Princes Trust and more.”
Guns can be surrendered anonymously but the history of any live weapons will be checked for any evidence of criminal use.
The firearms will either be destroyed at the West Midlands Police armoury or retained for training exercises.
Warwickshire Police is also taking part in the firearms amnesty with people able to hand in guns at police stations in Nuneaton, Leamington and Rugby.